Jarod Perkioniemi.

On Thursday, a man was charged with threatening to assassinate United States (U.S.) Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The suspect, Raymond Hunter Geisel, was arrested on Saturday by the U.S. Secret Service in Miami, Florida. Geisel, 22 years old, was found to have in his possession weapons as well as military type gear. He is being held without bail in Miami’s downtown detention center.

Geisel was attending a bail bondsman training course when he, according to a Secret Service affidavit, stated “that nigger, if he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself” to class-mates.

One witness said he additionally threatened current President George W. Bush by stating that “he hated Bush and wanted to put a bullet through his head.” In a written statement, Geisel denied making either of the threats, and according to the reports he never took any action to carry out his assassination threats.

Geisel, a native of Bangor, Maine, reportedly had in his 1998 Ford Explorer — as well as in the hotel room at which he was staying — body armor, a 9mm pistol, dozens of ammunition rounds including armor piercing bullets, military-like fatigues, a machete, as well as knives. His SUV was equipped with red and yellow emergency lights.

US Secret Service star logo

In a interview with the Secret Service, Geisel stated that “if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking,” according to reports. Geisel claims that he suffered physical as well as emotional abuse earlier in life, and that he had admitted himself to a mental clinic for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder.

Geisel is being prosecuted exclusively for the threat against candidate Barack Obama, and not for the threat against President Bush. Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman refused to comment on the number of threats to political candidate and government officials, but did go as far as to say that this “might be the first arrest” in regards to this political election.

Source : wikinews

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United States Senate.

John McCainUnited States Senate.
Image: United States Senate.

Barack Obama
Image: United States Senate.

The two leading United States presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are statistically tied according to the latest Day to Day Politics Poll Average. Both the 7-day average and the 10-day average show that the difference between the two candidates is within the margin of error. Barack Obama is polling at 45.8% and John McCain is at 45.1%.

The lead for Obama has dropped by 4% in the last week, two weeks after his trip to Europe. There is about 4 weeks until the Democratic and Republican Conventions and about 9% of the public is still undecided, which is a 2% drop since last week.

The Day to Day Politics Poll Average for the past week used the Gallup Tracking poll, the Rasmussen Tracking poll, the CNN poll, and the USA Today/Gallup poll.

The battleground states of Florida and Ohio, are also showing no statistically significant lead for either of the two candidates. However, Pennsylvania shows a statistically significant lead for Obama. These three states have been key battleground states in the past two elections with the winner of two of these three states winning the White House.

Also, according to a new national poll, white workers give Obama the edge by 10 percent (47% for Obama, 37% for McCain), even though 1/6th of this voting group is undecided. Both parties agree that this group of voters will be a key voting bloc for victory. With 92 days left until the General Election, both parties will be campaigning heavily in the three major battleground states mentioned above and among this particular voting group.

Source : wikinews

A man about to be indicted by the United States Department of Justice died Tuesday. His lawyer has called the death a suicide.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital in Frederick, Maryland, where he died of an overdose of Tylenol and codeine, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Ivins, who worked at the biodefense laboratories in Fort Detrick, Maryland for 18 years, was about to be charged by the Justice Department in connection with the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people and infected 17 others.

Ivin’s lawyer, Paul Kemp, insisted that his client had no role in the attacks, which targeted politicians in Washington DC, and members of the media in New York City and Florida.

“For six years, Dr. Ivins fully cooperated with that investigation, assisting the government in every way that was asked of him,” Mr. Kemp told the New York Times. “The relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo takes its toll in different ways on different people, as has already been seen in this investigation. In Dr. Ivins’ case, it led to his untimely death.”

Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times report that Ivins assisted the FBI and other agencies in the investigation after the 2001 attacks.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Ivins was reinvestigated beginning in 2006 after FBI Director Robert Mueller changed the case’s leadership. Before then, the only labeled “person of interest” was Steven J. Hatfill. He has since been cleared and paid between $4.6 and $5.82 million by the U.S. Government as part of a settlement stemming for 2003 law suits filed against the Justice Department and government officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The New York Times also reported that a spokesman for Hatfill said that rushing to judgment in the case is a mistake.

“Everybody is jumping to the conclusion that because this guy committed suicide, he must be the anthrax killer,” Mr. Clawson told the New York Times. “That is a lousy premise. The pressure of these F.B.I. investigations on individuals is phenomenal, and it is quite likely that this guy cracked under that pressure but had nothing to do with the killings.”

The New York Times reports that Ivins had been undergoing psychiatric treatment within the last month and had a restraining order placed on him by a woman he was allegedly stalking and threatening.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), mental health professional Jean C. Duley requested that Frederick County court issue a “peace order”, a type of restraining order, against Ivins in July. Duley submitted documents to the court which show a history of “homicidal actions, threats and plans.”

The New York Times also reports that Ivins was a religious man. Members of his congregation gathered early Friday to pray for him at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Frederick.

The Associated Press cites one of Ivins’ colleagues who said he had been removed from his work area as he was thought to be a potential threat to others. According to NPR, one colleague said he was “emotionally fractured by the federal scrutiny.”

Source : wikinews